Health care bills being considered by Wash. Legislature


OLYMPIA — Changes to reimbursement for health care facilities that house difficult-to-discharge Medicare patients and revised emergency homeless shelter rules for counties with more than 50,000 people are among the bills introduced in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature, which started Monday.

A noncomprehensive list of health care-related proposed bills is below. Descriptions below are abridged.

SB 5103

Sponsors: Sens. Ron Muzzall (R-Oak Harbor) and Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver).

An act relating to payment to acute care hospitals for difficult-to-discharge Medicaid patients who do not need acute care but who are waiting in the hospital to be appropriately and timely discharged to post-acute and community settings.

HB 1022

Sponsors: Reps. Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles), Julia Reed (D-Seattle) and Debra Lekanoff (D-Bow).

In order to provide additional funds for the coordination and provision of community services for persons with developmental disabilities or mental health services, the county governing authority of each county in the state must levy annually a tax in a sum equal to the amount which would be raised by two and one-half cents per thousand dollars of assessed value against the taxable property in the county to be used for such purposes.

The levy required in this section must be: Imposed by the legislative authority of the county as a separate levy, independent of the regular property tax levy authorized in RCW 84.52.043(1)(b); or imposed by the legislative authority of the county as part of its levy authorized in RCW 84.52.043(1)(b).

All or part of the funds collected from the tax levied for the purposes of this section may be transferred to the state of Washington, department of social and health services, for the purpose of obtaining federal matching funds to provide and coordinate community services for persons with developmental disabilities and mental health services.

SB 5016

Sponsor: Rep. Phil Fortunato (R-Auburn).

Every county and each city with a population over 50,000 must establish and operate at least one emergency overnight shelter site in its respective jurisdiction. Counties and each eligible city within the county’s geographic boundary must coordinate to ensure that there are enough cumulative shelter beds to accommodate, at a minimum, the sheltered and unsheltered portions of the county’s most recent point-in-time homeless count.

HB 1155

Sponsors: Reps. Vandana Slatter (D-Bellevue), Chipalo Street (D-Seattle), Cindy Ryu (D-Shoreline), April Berg (D-Everett), Emily Alvarado (D-Seattle), Jamila Taylor (D-Federal Way) and Reed .

Information related to an individual’s health conditions or attempts to obtain health care services is among the most personal and sensitive categories of data collected. Washingtonians expect that their health data is protected under laws like the health information portability and accountability act (HIPAA).

However, HIPAA only covers health data collected by specific health care entities, including most health care providers. Health data collected by non covered entities, including certain apps and websites, are not afforded the same protections. This act works to close the gap between consumer knowledge and industry practice by providing stronger privacy protections for all Washington consumers’ health data.

SB 5036, HB 1027

Sponsor: Muzzall

A health plan offered to employees, school employees, and their covered dependents under this chapter issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2017, shall reimburse a provider for a health care service provided to a covered person through telemedicine or store and forward technology if :

The plan provides coverage of the health care service when provided in person by the provider;

The health care service is medically necessary.

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